Looking for more great pet-themed DIY projects? Check out our tutorials for a cat bed and pet bowl stand

The idea for this taco cat costume came to me last year. I saw a picture of a cat that had a taco photoshopped onto it. And I suddenly thought, "I need to make a taco costume for my cat for Halloween!" It’s cute and fun, and something about the facial expressions cats make when they’re in costume made me really, really want to make one for my cat, Kitty. Unfortunately the time got away from me last year, but this year I got organized early and finally designed and made a taco.

I know you can buy already-made taco costumes for your pet, but they’re often completely knitted or crocheted and seem to be too small for the cats wearing them—I wanted a different look and I wanted to make sure I could fit it to the “dimensions” of my cat, so I went custom. I wanted the cat to look like it was in the taco. I also wanted it to be super malleable so Kitty could still move around comfortably (and awkwardly, if we’re being honest), so I went with soft, flexible fabrics.

This project should only take you a few hours, which makes it a great activity for a dreary October afternoon—especially if it’s paired with some hot cider and a Halloween movie (Hocus Pocus, anyone?). Let’s get to it!

Step 1: Make Tomatoes

The first step is to cut out 2 1/4" red felt circles for tomatoes using the cutting diagram below. With red fabric paint, trace the edge of the circle and freehand draw the seed cavities. Then, use white or yellow fabric paint to draw on the seeds. Let dry.

download cutting diagram
cutting felt for cat costume
tracing red felt with sharpie
gluing felt pieces
glue dots on red felt

Step 2: Slice Cheese

Next, it’s time for the cheese. Using a rotary cutter and a straightedge, cut several 1/2"-wide strips from non-fraying fabric. Then, cut the strips into 1 1/2" lengths. If you don’t have a rotary cutter, you can mark your cuts with a fabric pen and make your cuts with scissors—a rotary cutter just makes super clean lines. When looking for fabric, look for something non-fraying. I went with a fabric that’s similar to the fabric they use for yoga pants—it not only doesn’t fray, but it also naturally curls in on itself, which is great for the shredded cheese look we’re going for. You could also use felt.

cutting yellow felt with rotary cutter
string of yellow felt
rotary cutter yellow felt

Step 3: Crochet Ground Beef

For the ground beef, we’re using a 6.5mm crochet hook and a No. 6 super-bulky yarn. Chain 11, single crocheting into each chain, then continue creating rows with single crochet stitches. Crochet 32 rows, or however many rows it takes to get to about 5 1/2" x 14 1/2"—it should be slightly larger than the middle section of the taco.

If you don’t know how to crochet, don’t fret: it’s pretty easy to pick up, and we’re intentionally using thick yarn to make this step as quick and easy as possible. If you aren’t up to it, that’s OK too. You can take this in another direction if you need and glue a textured fabric or yarn to the taco shell. There are plenty of workarounds, you just need to get creative!

crochet diy

sewing for diy pet costume

Step 4: Make Lettuce

Once you’ve got your ground beef, cut two 7” x 29” strips of green cloth for the lettuce. Fold them in half lengthwise, then iron a sharp fold in the middle and iron the ends so the raw edges are hidden. Baste (this is a term for sewing with a really wide stitch so it’s easy to pull the thread and gather) 1/4" away from the raw edge, then pull on the threads to turn the entire piece into a long ruffle.

iron on felt for project
sewing for diy project

Step 5: Cut Taco Shell Foam

Now we’re moving on to the taco shell. Remember: I built this costume to fit the size of my cat. Your cat (or dog!) is likely built differently, so adjust as needed.

For this part, we’re using the diagram below. Cut out one piece of foam with the entire diagram, then either cut off or fold under the dark sections of the diagram to cut your second piece of foam.

The foam essentially turns this costume into a hard taco instead of a soft taco—it’s a way to add structure to the piece and hold everything together while still allowing for movement.

download cutting diagram
cutting shapes for diy cat taco costume

Step 6: Cut Taco Shell Fabric

Cut out two pieces using the entire diagram. Fold under or cut off the dark sections of your diagram, then cut out two more pieces of fabric. Mark X’s on the inside of each side of the taco shell—this is a guide for where the middle section (the base of the taco shell) will connect to the sides of the taco shell. The fabric you cut out in this step is essentially the casing for the two sides of the taco shell foam.

Once you’ve cut the casing, cut a rectangular piece of fabric 6 1/4" x 28 1/4". This is that middle section I mentioned earlier, which I’m going to call the base of your taco shell. This part lays across the top of your cat’s back and contains all the ingredients.

rotary cutter cat taco costume shell

Step 7: Assemble Taco Shell Base

Now that we have the base cut, we’re going to fold it in half, sew a 5/8" hem at the ends, then flip it inside out. (If you pick it up, it should be a big ring.) Press flat so that your ring becomes a double-sided rectangle. Fold under all the raw edges, about 5/8". Iron down. 

Next, slip the lettuce in between the two layers of the base and pin. Then, pin the lettuce-stuffed base to the two taco sides and sew them together. The long side of your base should match the X’s you marked on either side of the taco shell. The lettuce can get a little confusing and unwieldy, so just know that the goal here is to have the lettuce attached and ruffling up around the edges of the taco shell. You can make it happen, I promise.

diy cat taco costume shell base
sewing cat taco shell for costume
sewing machine for diy cat taco

Step 8: Sew Taco Shell Sides

Next, sew the taco sides together and turn them right side out. This step is tricky because you have the base with the lettuce in your way—if it helps, pin the lettuce so it doesn’t get in your seam. Pay special attention here to make sure everything is facing the right way. Once you’ve sewn the seam and turned it inside out (to make sure everything checks out as planned), trim any excess fabric as close to the seam as possible to create a smooth curve.

sewing diy cat taco costume shell

Step 9: Iron Taco Shell Seams and Add Foam

Iron down the taco shell seam you just sewed and press a 1/2" hem along the bottom edge. You’ll need to make diagonal snips in all the inside corners in order to get that hem. Next, stuff the taco shell with your foam and pin the edges together. Sew with a 1/8" seam. A note here: Foam can be very finicky to work with and it can take awhile to get both sides of the form the right distance from the edge of the fabric, not to mention getting it unwrinkled and looking nice. It’s kind of like stuffing a duvet—take your time.

ironing cat taco costume shell seams

Step 10: Add Velcro

To make the costume adjustable, we’re using velcro. Cut out velcro strips and attach them to the large flaps on the bottom of the taco shell. I recommend using a snag-free velcro so it has less of a chance of being tangled up in fur. When it comes to attaching, the length of the velcro should run perpendicular to the length of your pet, all the way across the belly. This leaves the most room for adjustment. Add velcro on the front flaps as well.

adding velcro to diy cat costume
sewing velcro on cat taco costume

Step 11: Sew Ground Beef

Sew on ground beef with matching thread. Intentionally make it lumpy. You can even add stuffing to various parts to add more dimension.

adding layers to diy cat costume

Step 12: Glue Additional Toppings

Glue on tomatoes and cheese in an organized-but-random pattern. You're done!

gluing cat taco costume pieces
diy cat taco costume assembled
gluing cat taco pieces

I love how this project turned out—it’s super cute, and strikes a nice balance between looking realistic and looking cartoonish. Too far in either of those directions leaves you with something far less charming, and that’s what this is: charming. I love a fun Halloween costume like this, and I can’t wait to see Kitty all dressed up (the cat we used in the photos is a friend’s). Wearing a costume is enough of a trick that I might even give her a catnip treat.

kirsten dunn and cat
kirsten dunn cat taco costume
how to make a diy cat taco costume